Thursday, August 30, 2007

By Neal Barrett, Jr.
****NOTE: If you haven't read Through Darkest America yet, you may want ot skip this review as it does neccessarily reveal a plot point or two.****

The sequel to Through Darkest America completes the saga of Howie Ryder and his search for his lost sister. He is a bitter young man, savagely mutilated by an enemy. In the last novel Howie escaped the chaos of the war in the west between Lathan and the American government. However he discovered the truth about the soulless “stock”, the creatures that look and walk upright like humans, but do not talk and are considered to be meat.

Yes, I said meat. Howie lives in a future America devastated by nuclear war. Life goes on, farmers raise crops and families, warlords make war, and people eat stock. Only Howie has learned a thing or two about stock and he is determined to rescue his sister from a fate that is worse than death, but probably includes death anyway.

Barrett’s vision of the future is bleak. There isn’t even the comfort of total destruction, rather mankind has been stripped down to his essentials: hypocrisy, bloodlust, and murder for food. The reader may not find Dawn’s Uncertain Light to be as nightmarish as its predecessor. It is hard to top the repeated shocks Barrett administers in that particular work. Rather Dawn toys with the notion of Howie as a mythic figure who is unaware of his status. Just as Darkest America was a cannibalistic trail-drive western, Dawn is the vengeance trail of a legendary gunfighter, told in Barrett’s own unique style.
-Dave Hardy


Charles Gramlich said...

Started reading "through darkest America" last night so I'm not going to read this post because of the spoiler. I may want to get the sequel if I like the first one.

Dave Hardy said...

The short version of my review is that the sequel is good, but not as much of a shocker (naturally) as the first story.

Anonymous said...

Biting Dog Publications has released Through Darkest America, and Dawn's Uncertain Light by Neal Barrett Jr in ebook format, available at all major ebook retailers.

Through Darkest America

Post Apocalypse America
Bluevale was about all Howie had seen of the world.
Even his Pa, who knew everything, didn’t know much about the way it was before the war.
Scriptures said all of the unclean animals had been wiped out. Howie didn’t know what that meant exactly. He’d seen horses. And stock of course. Stock looked like humans.
‘Cept stock had no soul. That’s why they was meat.
Howie had a good life for a boy. Then the soldiers came. And what they did to his folks made him grow up right quick. He got his revenge—‘cept now the whole darn army was after him. But he had a huge country to run across…and lots of miles to stay alive.
Includes new bonus chapter!

Dawn's Uncertain Light

*Sequel to Through Darkest America
After The Fall...
America's Great Dream is over. Centuries ago it was devastated by the ultimate war. The effects still linger.
Food is scarce, water even scarcer and human compassion nowhere to be found. Even so, society is slowly rebuilding itself.
But is it a society whose thirst for success is built on an enormous , barbaric lie:

Silver Island almost legendary place to most Americans.
The citadel where the government is building a new and better nation from the ashes of the war-ravaged land. Everyone envies the few children who are chosen to be sent to Silver Island to help realize that dream.

At least, that's what Howie Ryder was told when his little sister became one of the Chosen. And that's what he believed before the soldiers slaughtered his parents.

Six years on, Howie has discovered the horrifying truth about Silver Island. And will do anything -- anything -- to rescue his sister from it's grip...

A Day At The Fair (A free short story)

Off to the south you could see 'em---two big Portugees floatin' high and slow, flat-looking bodies all pearly blue in the sun. They weren't real hungry, or looking for anything special, just drifting along, trailing their stingers like long rags of rain 'gainst the ground..

Available at all major ebook retailers!